The Thrift Shop in Angel, Islington, is businessman Barry Baines’ brainchild. He envisages donations and cheap purchases going in, and sales with big margins going out. He has seen other charities doing very well indeed, and he wants a part of the action.
A call goes out for staff, and the locals respond. With characters such as Sarah, Barb, Hilary and Jean forming the vanguard, the Thrift Shop gets off to a flying start.
We see Barry steer this ship and it’s motley crew to achieve big things. The characters come to life in this nurturing environment, pushing many of them to explore their hitherto hidden depths, with some going on to make a name for themselves.
Barry also has ambitions beyond the first store – into four. He starts up many other businesses along the way, all complimentary to each other.
Underpinning these success stories is his charity. A cause that is dear to his heart. We see the expansion of his dream and the wealth of goodness that emanates from those helping others.
We see the ups and downs of every business. We feel the raw emotions of occasional sadness. We follow the main characters uphill and down dale, to places they have never seen, and to achievements that could never have been, had they not got the chance to do so through the Thrift Shop and Barry’s belief in their potential and possibilities.
We stop and stare at some of the more ridiculous events. We snoop along with ex-cop Jean. We laugh at Sarah’s way out antics. We follow Barb’s innate business nose. We love Lonely and her rise and rise through the soft toy department. We marvel at the Asian contingent and what they bring to the party.
We want to tap Reggie Green on the shoulder, to get him to wake up to himself. We follow the baddies who influence Barry’s fortunes and marvel at the prowess of Jean and her friends who thwart their wayward ways.
We travel across the world in search of business. We find love and we find heartbreak.
The Thrift Shop starts out as a small idea, but by the time we come to the end of this book, we realize that anyone can have a small idea that can turn into a great business that can impact so many lives. We understand, that by giving everyday people a chance to shine, they can achieve greatness.
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